Completely moved to be with my little girl again, I run to catch her and hold her tight. Her red curls smell of rose and her skin is as soft as the green velvet of her gown I ordered for her birthday. I love my Elizabeth and I cannot hold back my tears of joy after so many months of separation. Her presence at court for Christmas festivities is the best gift Henry can offer me. I cannot restrain the urge to enter the Great Hall to introduce my princess to the whole court myself. Shyly, she grips my gown tails made of red velvet embroidered of threads of gold. I am the most happy again with her by my side. I fear Henry’s reaction when he will see how our baby has grown into a cute girl, he, who desires most a boy to secure his Tudor throne in his realm.
‘Princess Elizabeth!’ announces the yeoman as the heavy wooden doors open.
I beam of pride and joy as we step in the Great Hall, watching all nobles bow and ladies curtsy to my little darling. From all of her two year-old, she cannot grasps the importance of her rank and her eyes sparkle at the colourful sight of gowns worn by the ladies, candelabras on tables and tapestries that cover the wall. She does not pay attention around her and ignores completely the courtiers, gazing all around her and gasping. Everyone draw aside to let us get to the dais where Henry is sitting on his throne. Elizabeth stops to look up at him for a moment and goes ahead with uncertain step. Henry frowns at her, reminding me how I failed to my duty as queen and takes a careful look at the reaction of his courtiers. My little girl comes to a halt in front of the few steps leading toward her father. Grabbing with finesse her skirts, she deeps into a curtsey.
‘Merry Christmas your Majesty’ she says, self-confident.
I look back to her governess, Lady Bryan, and nod to thank her. Elizabeth learns quickly. I want her to be the pride of her father as well.
All of the courtiers wait nervously, glancing around and holding their breath. My head held high, I stare at Henry who is looking her in the face. He suddenly bursts out laughing, stretching out his arms to her.
‘Merry Christmas my Elizabeth’ he exclaims, sitting her in his lap.
The whole court relaxes, Mark Smeaton starts to play a joyful melody and everyone chatters and gossips again. Henry looks up at me and motions me to come.
‘We have a fine clever girl, Anne.’
I take my seat by his side, grinning, my eyes set upon my still flat belly, my hand gently laid down on it. Henry notices my gesture, understanding I am with child again, and kisses my hand softly.
‘Have a magical Christmas sweetheart.’ he whispers to my ear.
I suspected my pregnancy early this month, and the physicians confirmed it last week. I pray with all my heart it will be the boy Henry wishes so much, to secure his realm but his love for me as well.
‘Anne Boleyn, you wake up! Your mother will be mad at me if you are late for Christmas Mass!’
Mrs Orchard, my nurse, pulls back my covers, forcing me to sit. I do not want to awake and realize all of this was just a dream. I glance at the full-length mirror on the opposite side of the room, facing my bed – I sigh when I only see a seven year-old girl. Disappointed, I grab my doll to hold her tight and close my eyes, recalling the pretty face of my Elizabeth. I wonder if this dream was an omen. I wish I could feel the rich and soft velvet of the gorgeous gown I wore on my skin, entwine my fingers in the curls of my daughter and dance with her and her father. Her father… Who was he? He looked like a king, and I, his queen. Could he be the Henry I’ve heard of? Henry Tudor, brother to the Prince of Wales, Arthur Tudor and second son of our King, Henry VII? This Christmas is going to be special, my mind full of the details I dreamed of, secretly praying all of this will come true.